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It was March 12, 1947; President Truman was abruptly informed of the British
Government’s announcement that it would no longer provide economic assistance to the Greek
Government as of March 31, 1947. President Truman knew the imminent implications of the
British Government’s plan to terminate its monetary aid to Greece’s Government. In 1947,
Greece found itself amidst a civil war against the Greek Communist Party, using only British
economic aid to stop the spread of Communist forces. President Truman’s perception of the
Soviet Union’s intent, combined with the end of British support to Greece, prompted the Truman
Administration into action. The British Government’s announcement stimulated a turning point
for the United States, compelling the Truman Administration to create and launch a foreign
policy with a novel approach. In response, the Truman Doctrine emerged, and shortly thereafter,
the President’s requests to Congress materialized through The Marshall Plan (Sanford, 1982).
The Truman Doctrine
On March 12, 1947, President Harry S. Truman addressed a joint session of Congress
which was later recognized as the Truman Doctrine. The news about the British Government’s
withdrawal of financial support to Greece prompted President Truman’s speech (Sanford, 1982).
In this speech, President Truman described the Soviet Union’s threat to Greece and Turkey.
Additionally, the President explained the significance and potential ramifications affecting world
peace if the United States defaulted to inaction. In sum, President Truman requested Congress’s
approval of $400,000,000 in aid to Greece and Turkey, along with Congress’s support of
American presence in the region in order to deter communism (HSTLM, (n.d.). At the heart of
the Truman Doctrine was the United States’ mission to bar Soviet expansion in Europe while
commencing the containment process to prevent the spread of communism (Sanford, 1982).
President Truman conveyed:
We must take immediate and resolute action. I therefore ask the Congress to
provide authority for assistance to Greece and Turkey in the amount of
$400,000,000 for the period ending June 30, 1948…. This is an investment in
world freedom and world peace…. If we falter in our leadership, we may
endanger the peace of the world…. (HSTLM, n.d., para. 44,45,56).
Truman justified his requests to Congress based on two rationales. The President
characterized a potential Communist victory by the Greek Communist Party as a dangerous
catalyst to an inevitable chain of events. First, President Truman foresaw the fall of Greece
leading to the fall of Turkey—consequently causing political and economic instability in the
Middle East. (JFKPLM, (n.d.). Secondly, President Truman argued that the United States was in
a compelling position to take action in assisting Greece and Turkey against “totalitarian regimes”
because the spread of communism posed a global threat. The Truman Administration’s
prevailing reasoning to fund the economies of Greece and Turkey was to eradicate the conditions
of “misery and want” by which the “totalitarian regimes” thrived (HSTLM, (n.d., para. 53). The
Truman Doctrine, in effect, placed the United States in a position to prevent the demise of
Greece and Turkey by placing these two nations in the best economic position to combat the
spread of communism (USDOS, (n.d.). Given these explications, Congress approved President
Truman’s requests leading to a concrete solution: The Marshall Plan. (GCMF, n.d.b)
The Marshall Plan
President Truman’s address to Congress in 1947, later called the “Truman Doctrine” led
to the creation of The Marshall Plan. On June 5, 1947, President Truman’s Secretary of State—
George Marshall—unveiled The Marshall Plan. Officially known as the European Recovery